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Friday, November 30, 2012

Indonesian Nasi Goreng

Don't let the tricky name scare you away, because this is a delicious stir fry dish that's actually quite easy to make.

The name, Nasi Goreng, translates into "fried rice" in Indonesia, and the dish has many variations.  It can be served as a breakfast dish by serving the rice with more egg, it can be made suitable for vegetarians by omitting the chicken and/or shrimp, or you can prepare the dish with just chicken.  Either way, it is a quick and simple stir fry and makes a great weeknight dinner.

Cooking with a wok (or a large skillet will work too) the first thing to do is prepare all of your ingredients.  Have everything ready in advance and this meal will come together very quickly.

First, prepare a sauce of red chilies, chili paste, lobster or shrimp base, minced garlic and soy sauce. (You can use a small food processor to puree this if you would like a smooth mixture, but I liked having the pieces of garlic and chili in the sauce.)  Next chop the cucumbers and tomatoes and place in smalls bowls.  Then slice the chicken into strips and you're ready to go.

You can also vary the amount of heat in this dish, since this dish as written was not overly spicy. The chilies I used were a little mild, and next time I might try using Thai chilies for a more intense heat, or maybe add a teaspoon or two of Srirachi Sauce for extra heat. You can easily adjust the spice up or down for this recipe according to personal preference.  This dish got a thumbs up from the kids, even the picky eater, so I'm sure it will be added to our list of Go-To weeknight recipes.  Enjoy!!

4 - 6  Red Chilies, seeded and thinly sliced
1 TB  Roasted Red Chili Paste
2 tsp  Lobster or Shrimp Base
2 TB  Minced Garlic
1 TB  Soy Sauce
Peanut Oil for Stir-Frying
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 lb  Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into strips
1 lb  Medium Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups  Cooked Rice (Jasmati, Long Grain or Brown Rice will work)
1/3 cup  Soy Sauce
1 cup  Diced Cucumber
1  Large Tomato, chopped
Lime Wedges for garnish

In a small bowl combine the minced chilies, chili paste, lobster or shrimp base, garlic and soy sauce.  Stir and set aside.

Heat the wok (or large skillet) until very hot, add 2 tsp peanut oil and swirl around the wok.  Add the beaten eggs and gently swirl the eggs so they spread out in the wok, to create a large thin crepe.  Carefully flip the eggs over, cook for 1 minute until set, then transfer the eggs to a plate to cool, then slice the eggs into thin strips.

Reheat the wok and add 2 teaspoons of peanut oil, then add the chicken and half of the chili and garlic mixture.  Stir to coat and cook the chicken until it is no longer pink.  Remove the chicken from the wok and keep warm in a large bowl.

Reheat the wok, add 1 teaspoon oil, then the shrimp and the remaining chili and garlic mixture.  Stir and cook until the shrimp are cooked through and pink.  Transfer the shrimp to the bowl with the chicken and keep warm.

Reheat the wok and add 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the cooked rice, and stir constantly over medium-high heat for 4 minutes.  Add the soy sauce to the rice, stir, then add the chicken and shrimp to the wok.  Continue to turn the mixture until everything is warmed through.  Season with salt and pepper, as needed. 

Spoon the mixture into serving bowls and sprinkle with the strips of egg, then a spoonful of cucumber and finally the tomato on top.  Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over the dish. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chi Chi's Seafood Enchiladas

The inspiration for this recipe came from a jar of Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base.  I bought the base to make a Lobster Bisque during Soup Month, and it was wonderful.  But since I still had quite a bit of the lobster base left I wanted to find a tasty way to use it.

After a little research, I discovered that this type of base is the key ingredient in Seafood Enchiladas, which were a signature dish at the now-defunct Chi-Chi's Restaurants.  These little rolls of seafood seemed to have had quite a following, even years after the restaurants were closed, so I thought we would try them out.

I did change the recipe slightly.  Instead of using the 4 oz can of shrimp called for in the recipe, I substituted 1 cup of diced cooked shrimp.  The 100-count salad shrimp work great for this and are pretty inexpensive, but I just cannot get myself to cook with canned shrimp.  (Shrimp in a can just seems so wrong.)

This recipe turned out pretty good, but it still left me puzzled.  I read dozens of reviews for this recipe and they all said that these taste exactly like the original restaurant recipe.  And they did taste just like restaurant version, and the kids loved them.  But they still need something. A little oomph.  The biggest problem with restaurant food is that it almost always need more spice and flavor.  And that was the case here.

So on that note, I am on a mission to update these little seafood enchiladas into something new.  I will report back soon with the updated version, but in the meantime, give these a try and enjoy!

6 TB  Butter
1/2 cup  Flour
1/2 tsp  White Pepper
2 TB  Lobster Base
3 1/2 cups  Milk
1 cup  White Wine  or  Cooking Sherry
8 oz  Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 cup  Cooked Shrimp, diced
2  8-oz pkgs  Imitation Crabmeat, flake Style, chopped
10  6-inch  Flour Tortillas

To make the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour, stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the white pepper and lobster base, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the milk and white wine, stir, then add the cheese to the pan.  Cook over medium heat until the sauce is thickened, then remove the pan from the heat to cool slightly for about 10-15 minutes.

To prepare the crab mixture, combine the crab and shrimp in a medium bowl and add 1-1/2 cups of the sauce and mix well.

To prepare the enchiladas, lay the tortillas flat and spoon 2 - 3 heaping tablespoons of the crab mixture down the center of the tortillas.  Place the flap over the crab mixture, then roll.  Place the rolled enchiladas flap-side down in a 9"x13" baking dish.  Continue with the remaining tortillas, then pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the shredded cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just slightly golden.  Serve with Spanish rice, refried beans and a few lime wedges.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Very Relaxing Thanksgiving

To me, the real point of Thanksgiving is to relax and enjoy the day with family.  And that is just what we did this year, with a trip to St Augustine Beach, FL.  This quiet little town has become our favorite destination for the Thanksgiving weekend.  It's not a busy tourist trap and the beach is pretty empty, except for a few surfers and after-dinner strollers trying to walk off their feast.  Peace, quiet, sand and surf make for an enjoyable day.  Except when the winds are up and over 20 mph!

Yes, this year turned into a blustery vacation.  The temperatures were nice and the sun was shining, but the winds made it feel like you were in downtown Chicago.  Our usual turkey sandwiches on the beach turned into sandwiches and hot soup in the hotel room, but afterwards we were ready to head back out to watch the waves. 

On our way home from the beach, we stopped by a farmer's market stand and found a few delicious goodies that we couldn't pass up.  Apple butter was a must on my daughter's list, and we tried our first jar of pumpkin butter that was simply the best thing you have ever tasted! 

Next we came across these beautiful orange tomatoes.  I didn't know what I was going to make with them but I had to take them home.  Once we cut into the first tomato the answer was very clear.  Salsa!  We chopped up some jalapeno and onion along with one tomato, then added a dash of lime juice and a teaspoon of salt.  Simple and wonderful.


Our last find was my favorite, fresh Atlantic shrimp.  These giant beauties were swimming in the ocean in the morning and dropped into a yummy batch of Low Country Boil for dinner.  We added red potatoes, spicy kielbasa, lemons, corn on the cob, and a few snow crabs to the pot with a generous spoonful of Old Bay and dinner was ready in about 20 minutes.  The perfect ending to a wonderful weekend!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner Options

So here we are, just 5 short days from Thanksgiving.  Do you know what you are going to serve your family?  Are you going the traditional route with a Roasted Turkey and all the usual trimmings or are you looking for something a little different?

Many people are shocked at the thought of serving anything other than the traditional turkey dinner.  But what if you don't really like turkey?  What if you've cooked so many turkeys in your life you just don't ever want to have to cook another turkey?  Well, that would be me.  And you know what, Thanksgiving without turkey can be pretty great!

A few years ago I decided to break free from the traditional turkey dinner and cook something I really wanted to make, a Low Country Boil.  And you know what?  Everyone loved it and not one person missed the turkey!  Giant pieces of king crab legs, juicy jumbo shrimp, red potatoes and corn on the cob with some spicy kielbasa sausage thrown into a big kettle of boiling goodness.  The meal was delicious, and even better, the entire dinner was cooked in one pot!  Without the piles of pots and pans to wash after dinner, we were all able to sit back and enjoy the rest of our day.  That's when I knew it was OK to break tradition, and I haven't cooked a turkey since!

The next year we made a Standing Rib Roast with Oven Roasted Potatoes, another year it was Filet Mignon with Mushroom and Wine Sauce and one year it was San Francisco-Style Cioppino.  New and exciting recipes like these give everyone something new to look forward to each year, instead of the same roasted turkey. 

We always include our kids when planning our Thanksgiving Day meal each year, and we plan Christmas and New Year's Eve Dinners the same way.  Everyone makes suggestions and when the time comes, everyone pitches in to help prepare the meal.  The kids have learned so much by helping plan these dinners and we have created some great memories. 

So if you're tired of turkey or maybe you just don't like turkey, do something different!  Think outside the box this year and try making something new, exciting, and wonderful for your Thanksgiving Dinner. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sausage Stuffing with Sage

The secret stuffing.  Sausage Stuffing with Sage, to be exact.  It's the recipe that has never been formally written down, and yet all of my sisters and I know the recipe by heart.  Some of us make this stuffing better (me) than others (them), but we won't get into that..LOL.  Homemade stuffing is easy to make and is much better than pouring dried crumbs out of a bag and soaking them with broth! (Dreadfully bad stuff.)

Everyone in my family remembers the early Thanksgiving mornings, with my parents getting everything ready for the day.  Dinner for a family of 8 was no easy task, and the number of guests grew each year as spouses and grandchildren were added to the gathering.  I think we topped out at almost 30 people one year, and that meant two things, we needed a BIG turkey and a LOT of stuffing! 

My Mom always prepared this stuffing so she had enough to stuff a 20-22 pound turkey and also have a 13 x 9-inch pan on the side, which is a lot of stuffing.  For this recipe I've cut the portion down to serve about 8 - 10 people, with a bit left over for the next day.  (The leftovers are even better!)  

This year, make your own homemade stuffing to share with your family and create your own Thanksgiving memories.  Those memories will last a lifetime.  Enjoy!!

2  Loaves of White, Wheat, Pumpernickel Bread, etc (day old bread works best)
1 stick  Butter
1 large  Onion, finely chopped
2 - 3 stalks  Celery, finely chopped
1 tsp  Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 TB  Dried Ground Sage
1 lb  Sage Sausage, browned and crumbled into small pieces
3  Large Eggs
Chicken Broth (optional-as needed)
1 can  Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set aside.

Break the bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and celery and saute for 5 - 6 minutes or until softened.  Add salt, pepper, and sage to the skillet and stir to combine.  Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture over the bread pieces, then add the cooked sausage and the eggs.  Blend the stuffing to fully combine all of the ingredients.  (You can use a spoon, but this step is much easier to do if you mix it with your hands.)  The texture of the stuffing at this point will be a little different depending on the type of bread you use.  If you are using a dense wheat or pumpernickel-type bread it will absorb more moisture than white breads, and there are two ways to add moisture to the stuffing.  If needed, add 1/4 cup of chicken broth to the stuffing and stir to combine.  (You want the stuffing to be moist but not soaked or watery.)  For more of a creamy texture, add a few tablespoons of cream of chicken soup, as needed, to moisten the stuffing.

Scoop the stuffing into the baking pan, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover the pan and cook for 15 - 20 minutes longer or until crispy and golden on top.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Soups for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Day is quickly approaching and we have some great ideas for you today.  Serving soup as a first course is a great way to begin your Thanksgiving meal.  Just don't be tempted to buy a store-bought soup because you're afraid you won't have time to prepare a pot of soup.  It can be done!

It's often said that a great bowl of soup always tastes better the second day it is served, so make the soup one day early and refrigerate it until the big day.  The next day you can heat up the soup, or to make it even easier, use your crock pot to heat the soup while you prepare the rest of the meal.  For soups that need to be served soon after they are prepared, there are even a few soups that are quick to prepare.

Here are a few soup suggestions that are simple, they can easily be reheated the following day and they will be a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving Dinner.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup - This soup reheats very well and offers a classic touch of fall.  It would be delicious served alongside turkey, chicken or a roasted pork loin.

Savory Pumpkin Soup - Nothing says Thanksgiving better than Pumpkin. This soup reheats very well and would also coordinate well with turkey, chicken or roasted pork.

Creamy Trio of Mushrooms Soup - This earthy mushroom soup reheats well or you can make it the same day since preparation is very quick and easy.  This soup is a wonderful first course when served with Standing Rib Roast, roast pork loin, or lamb.

Creamy and Elegant Lobster Bisque - This soup is best served as soon as possible after cooking because of the delicate lobster, but it is quick to prepare.  This soup would pair well with roast turkey and oyster stuffing or a Standing Rib Roast.

Classic French Onion Soup - This soup can be made 60 - 90 minutes in advance and kept in a crock pot until ready to serve.  French onion soup pairs well with almost any main course, but goes especially well with Standing Rib Roast.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Continuing with our pre-holiday preparations, it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Sweet Potatoes!  But instead of serving the super sweet, marshmallow topped version this year, try serving the real thing, Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

This recipe lets the natural flavor of the potatoes shine through, with just a touch of honey added for sweetness.  For extra flavor you can add orange juice or maple syrup to the finished potatoes.  This works really well if you are serving a baked ham.

If you have any sweet potatoes leftover, you are in for a treat.  We have several delicious ways to use up any extras such as Sweet Potato Bread, Sweet Potato and Oatmeal Muffins, or Sweet Potato Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Cranberries.

6  Medium Sweet Potatoes, scrubbed
3 cups  Water, or enough to cover potatoes
1 tsp  Salt
1/4 cup  Butter, softened
3-4 TB  Honey
1/2 tsp  Salt

Cut off the ends of the potatoes and peel, removing any bruised spots. Chop potatoes into small 1-inch cubes, place in a large saucepan and add the water and salt.  Boil about 20 minutes or until just fork-tender.  Drain potatoes, return to the pan and add the butter.  Whip with an electric mixer until potatoes are smooth, then add honey and 1/2 tsp salt.  Serves 6-8.

For Orange-Flavored Sweet Potatoes: Add 2 tablespoons orange juice along with the honey.
For Maple-Flavored Sweet Potatoes: Prepare as above, substituting maple syrup for the honey.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Asparagus Casserole with Crunchy Onion Topping

With Thanksgiving Day quickly approaching, many people are making plans for the big day.  And with those plans come many questions.  What should I serve?  How many people will I be feeding?  Which wine should I buy?  Do I have to make turkey?  Ahh!  So much stress over one meal.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

To answer the above questions, I will be posting for the next 9 days, tips, hints, recipes and suggestions to help make your Thanksgiving Day a little bit easier.

Today we will start with Asparagus Casserole.  Although most people will stick with their family traditions, this recipe will update a family favorite and will have your guests asking for the recipe.  This is one of the rare occasions when I use a canned soup, but this stuff is just so good!

I made up this recipe when I was living in California.  The stores were closed and I didn't have green beans on hand, just a can of asparagus.  So this recipe was created based on the classic French's Green Bean Casserole, I just substituted the asparagus for the green beans.  Not being a big fan of green beans, I always knew there had to be a way to update the original recipe with a vegetable that I liked and asparagus is a delicious improvement.  Take this to your next holiday dinner and everyone will be pleasantly surprised.  Enjoy!

1  10-3/4 oz can  Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup  Milk
1/8 tsp  Black Pepper
1 cup  Crunchy French Fried Onions
2  15 oz cans  Asparagus Cuts
1/2 cup  Crunchy French Fried Onions for Topping

In a medium casserole dish, mix soup, milk and pepper until combined.  Add onions and asparagus and combine gently so you don't crush all on the onions.  Smooth the mixture into the casserole pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until hot and crispy on top.  Top with the 1/2 cup of onions for the topping and bake 5 more minutes, then serve.  This recipe can easily be doubled.

Szechuan Pork Stir Fry

One of my favorite time saving appliances is my electric wok.  You can combine almost any protein with a handful of vegetables (anything you have on hand will work just fine), and a quick sauce and you have dinner on the table in no time. 


Another reason I love to cook in the wok is that it's so much fun to experiment with different ingredients and see how close I can get to the flavors you find in a traditional Chinese take-out meal. For example, tonight I wanted to make a Szechuan-style spicy sauce and I happened to have some pork on hand, so I started there.  After thinly slicing the pork, I added cornstarch, soy sauce and garlic powder for a marinade.  Next, I sliced a green pepper into strips and placed those in a small bowl. (Using small bowls for the ingredients is ideal for cooking with a wok.  Just line up all of the bowls in order as they are called for in the recipe, then you are ready to toss everything into the wok as needed.)

The Szechuan sauce gets its heat from crushed red pepper, which is infused into the dry roasted peanuts with a quick stir-fry.  This step is very "aromatic" to say the least.  The heat of the wok really brings out the full strength of the red pepper and the smell is spicy and delicious.

After quickly stir-frying the pork and peppers, a blend of chicken broth, vinegar and white wine add a nice balance to the spicy red pepper.

Cooking with a wok is super easy, but you could also use a large non-stick skillet with equally good results.  This is also a great recipe to start with if you are new to stir-frying.  It's super easy, fast and the taste is even better than take-out Chinese.  Enjoy!!

1 3/4 lbs  Boneless Pork, cut into thin strips
5 TB  Soy Sauce
4 TB  Cornstarch, divided
1 tsp  Garlic Powder
3 TB  Water
2 tsp  Peanut Oil
1/2 cup  Dry Roasted Peanuts
1/2 tsp  Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 tsp  Minced Fresh Ginger
1 medium Green or Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 cup  Chicken Broth
2 TB  Rice Vinegar
2 TB  Dry White Wine
1 tsp  Sugar

In a medium glass bowl, combine the soy sauce, 1 TB cornstarch and garlic powder, add the pork strips and marinate for 15 - 20 minutes.

Heat 2 tsp peanut oil in a large wok over medium-high heat.  Add the peanuts, crushed red pepper and ginger to the wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Remove peanuts to a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 tsp peanut oil to the wok, then add the pork, and stir-fry for 3 minutes.  Add the green pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes longer, stirring and turning frequently to cook evenly.

Combine the broth, vinegar, wine and sugar in a small glass bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add mixture to the wok, stir well, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.

In a small bowl combine 3 TB cornstarch and water, stir, then add the mixture to the wok and stir until the broth thickens, about 3 - 5 minutes.

Serve over steamed brown rice with a bowl of steamed edamame.  Serves 6.  Enjoy!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chicken and Mushroom Saute with Dijon-Wine Sauce

Most Moms will agree, any time you can put together a delicious meal and only use one pan, that's a great meal!  And that was the case for this dinner.  This is a quick and easy meal that we threw together tonight that combines the rustic flavors of sauteed fresh mushrooms with a creamy Dijon mustard sauce and thin slices of chicken. 

We used a mushroom trio of Oyster, Shiitake and Portabello mushrooms that are actually sold as a "gourmet" mixture at out local Publix store.  I love the flavor that this blend of mushrooms delivers and they only take a few minutes to saute.  Better yet, they were already sliced and ready to use.

The delicate cream sauce is a mixture of chicken broth, white wine and Dijon mustard that is finished off with cream and Parmesan cheese.  By reducing the sauce in stages you get the full flavor of the ingredients, and the end results is a quick sauce that tastes like it's been simmering for much longer.

Lastly, the chicken breasts are cut into thin medallions, or silver-dollar sized slices, and this is very important to make this meal in a flash.  Slice the chicken breast down the center lengthwise, then hold your knife at an angle as you slice pieces off the end of each strip. Try to cut the slices the same thickness and they will cook evenly.  This is also a great way to slice chicken for a stir-fry dish.

This was a great dinner and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  Enjoy!!

2 lbs  Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into thin medallions
1 TB  Olive Oil
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
4 oz  Mixed Mushrooms, sliced (I used Shiitake, Oyster and Portabello)
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2/3 cup  White Wine
1 cup  Chicken Stock
2 - 3 TB  Dijon Mustard, to taste
3/4 cup  Heavy Cream
1/3 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese
Cooked Whole Wheat Pasta

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, stirring to quickly saute for about 5 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.

Add the garlic to the skillet, stir and cook for 2 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms, salt and pepper,  and keep stirring frequently and cook for 3 minutes longer, or until the mushrooms begin to cook down slightly.  Remove the chicken and mushrooms from the skillet to a warm plate and keep warm.

Add the white wine to the skillet, keeping heat at medium-high, and stirring to combine any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Reduce the wine by half, then add the chicken stock to the pan, and again reduce the mixture by half.  Add 2 TB mustard and the cream to the skillet, stir to combine and return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan.  Cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until slightly thickened, then add the Parmesan cheese to the skillet and stir to blend.  Taste test the sauce and add the additional 1 TB mustard, if desired.
(Note:  If the sauce is a little too thin for your preference, mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in a small bowl with a little cold water and blend into the sauce.  Stir constantly until the sauce thickens to your liking.)

Serve over cooked linguine pasta and a top with additional Parmesan cheese.  Serves 6.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cincinnati Chili

Tonight we are revisiting a Midwest favorite, Cincinnati Chili.  Although the process and the ingredients are somewhat unorthodox compared to the common Texas-style chili recipe, this is a delicious bowl of chili on a cold winter night.

If you've ever eaten at a Skyline Chili Parlor Restaurant, you might be familiar with this type of chili. This is a unique and flavorful chili, with a blend of savory and sweet spices in perfect balance.  Cinnamon, allspice and cloves combine with tomato sauce, onions, celery and just a touch of lemon juice for a bit of acidity.  Serve the chili over a bowl of pasta, top with chopped onion and grated cheddar and you have a delicious meal.

This is also a great chili to serve for football parties.  Just prepare the chili as directed and place in a large crock pot to keep warm. If you have an additional crock pot available, use it to keep hot dogs warm and your guests can make their own Chili Cheese Dogs. Just place a few bowls of grated cheese, chopped onions, and maybe some sliced jalapenos nearby as toppings.  This chili is also great for leftovers.  Enjoy!!

4 cups Water
2 8 oz cans Tomato Sauce
1 5 oz can Tomato Paste
2 cups  Onions, finely chopped
1 cup  Celery, finely chopped
2 TB  Chili Powder
2 TB  Fresh Lemon Juice
1 TB  Sugar
2 Bay Leaves (whole)
4 Garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 lb Lean Ground Pork
1 lb Spaghetti or Linguine, broken in half, cooked and tossed lightly with Olive Oil


2 cups Hot Kidney Beans
2 cups Chopped Onions
2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese

In a large soup pot, combine all ingredients except the beef, pork, and spaghetti. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.  Crumble the meat gradually into the pot and return the mixture to a boil. 

Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 - 2 hours, uncovered, until the chili has thickened. Discard the bay leaves. Serve in large flat soup bowls, ladled over the hot spaghetti; top with the beans, onions and shredded cheese to your liking.

Monday, November 5, 2012

NuWave Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

The NuWave Oven is an interesting gadget, and I'm sure many of you have seen these advertised on the weekend infomercials.  The oven has a large domed top and uses infrared heat as a cooking source.  During the infomercial, the hosts show different foods you can cook in the oven, but the problem is, once this oven is delivered, many people just don't know what to do with it.  The cookbook that's enclosed with the oven is more than a little vague and just doesn't give you a lot of information so you can actually cook with this thing.  The answer to this problem is simple. Experiment!

Some people think this little oven is just a gimmick and I was a little skeptical too, but the truth is, you will never cook a more juicy and evenly roasted chicken than with this oven.  Really!  Here are a few recipes that we have tested with wonderful results  NuWave Baked Chicken, NuWave Baked Chicken Drumsticks, NuWave Oven Roast Beef. 

Now, on to my latest challenge, NuWave Oven Baked Chicken Wings.  I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time and I was thrilled with the results.  We used the same breading technique and the same sauce that we use in our Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings, it was just the actual baking method that changed.  These wings are super easy to make.  Just double coat with a cornmeal breading, then bake it the NuWave for about 15 minutes.  You can coat these with your own sauce or try our Buffalo Wing Sauce detailed below.  Either way, you're in store for a delicious batch of wings.  Enjoy!!


3/4 cup Flour
3/4 cup Cornmeal
2 tsp Seasoned Salt
1 TB Garlic Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Salt
9 Chicken Wings cut into drumettes, center wing pieces and wing tips (discard tips) You will have 18 pieces total

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and garlic salt in a large bowl.  Add the wings, turning to evenly coat on all sides.  Place the coated wings on a baking sheet and let rest for 5 minutes, then recoat a second time in the breading.

Set up the NuWave and place the wings on the 4" cooking rack, leaving a bit of room between wings, if possible, to allow for even cooking. Cook on HIGH for 8 minutes, then turn wings over and cook for 6 - 8 minutes longer on HIGH. (Depending on the thickness of the wings, you will want to test them for doneness after about 6 or 8 minutes, see if they are cooked through, and add another 3 - 5 minutes, if needed. The juices should run clear when fully cooked.)

While the wings are cooking you can prepare the wing sauce.

Buffalo Wing Sauce
3/4 stick Salted Butter
1 TB Red Pepper Flakes
4 TB Garlic Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Franks Red Hot Original Sauce
1 TB  White Vinegar

Melt butter in saucepan then add red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat and stir until you get a roux consistency. Add Franks Red Hot sauce and vinegar and heat to just under a boil. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes on low heat.

Dip the cooked wings into the sauce one at a time and coat thoroughly with sauce and place in serving bowl.